JAMES “Honda has done the hard work already” ”
The first round of the Britcar Production Championship last weekend was cancelled due to its proximity to this weekend’s Creventic 24 Hours of Silverstone. “Teams resisted the idea of racing because they were concerned that if they crashed, they wouldn’t be able to make the turnaround in time for the 24-hour race,” said co-director Rob Hedley. “We will return on May 7 at Snetterton.”
The waiting is finally over. The British Touring Car Championship is back and, following the series’ official test day at Donington Park last week, a few of the preseason questions have been answered.
While the main headlines will be about the new Subaru Levorg programme that is going to be operated by Team BMR, others have been working diligently in the background to hone their machines ahead of the opening three races at Brands Hatch this weekend.
Prime among them is Team Dynamics, which once again will be running the Honda Civic Type R.
If you look at the facts, it is hard to see beyond Team Dynamics winning the championship again. Matt Neal set the fastest time at Donington Park while reigning champion Gordon Shedden languished in 16th place. Don’t let the Scottish driver’s position fool you – he will be in the heart of the championship battle at the season’s end.
There wasn’t a lot wrong with the Honda at the end of last season, but that didn’t mean that there wasn’t plenty of work for the engineers to focus on. The hatchback was very late on parade ahead of the 2015 campaign – so much so that Shedden had only done one day of running before the opener. With the limited amount of in-season mileage, it meant that Team Dynamics wasn’t in a position to refine what it had: it was just lucky that it was well-built in the first place and was fast enough. Those changes would have to wait until the close of the campaign before they could be put in to place, but that work has been done now.
The only question mark surrounds the new control parts, which will be provided by RML. Most of the teams on the grid will have the new parts, including the suspension, the subframes and the power steering.
According to engineers, it is quite a significant change and it will be a challenge to get the most from the cars. While every team on the grid will have the same problems, the engineering strength at Team Dynamics has been proved time and time again with new cars and championship-winning campaigns. It will be a tough time for everyone, but expect Dynamics to cope better than most.
All of those ingredients add up to mean that the Honda will once again be in pole position to claim the silverware at the end of the season.
Given the speed and consistency Shedden showed last season, he will probably have the edge over Neal too. So here it is, neck on the line time: my tip is Shedden for a third title.